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Violin News & Gossip, Op. 2, No. 91

December 27, 2006 at 11:12 PM

Musician News

12/27/06 - Conductor Zubin Mehta is one of six winners of the 2007 Dan David Prize, presented annually by the Dan David Foundation and announced last week, reports “The Foundation, created by Israeli inventor and businessman Dan David, presents three awards each year for achievements relating to the past, present and future in areas of science, technology and culture. Now in its sixth year, the prizes are funded and administered in cooperation with Tel Aviv University and the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. Mehta and and composer Pascal Dusapin are being honored in the ‘present’ category and will share a $1 million award. Last year, cellist Yo-Yo Ma was honored in the ‘past’ category for his work with the Silk Road Project, which he founded and continues to direct. All the laureates must donate one-tenth of their prize money to outstanding doctoral students in their respective areas.”

12/26/06 – Eric Lewis, violinist with the Manhattan String Quartet and professor of violin at Western Connecticut State University, has donated a violin and is willing to teach a 7 year-old girl with Asperger Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. The child, Pearl Ziegler, has long expressed a love for music and a desire to play an instrument, reports the Danbury News Times. Read the story here:

12/26/06 – Dutch violinist Janine Jansen received a shout-out from the Palm Beach Post as performing one of 2006’s top 10 concerts. She performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra: “A concert with real firepower, and one that introduced an enthusiastic audience at the Broward Center to an imaginative soloist who inhabits the pieces instead of only performing them.”

12/25/06 – The Israeli news organization profiled Gil Shaham, who was in town last week to play for part of the festivities marking the Israel Philharmonic’s 70th anniversary. Read the story here:

12/24/06 – The Sarasota Herald-Tribune ran a profile of the Perlman Music Program, an intensive two-week training program run by Toby and Itzhak Perlman now in its third year.

12/22/06 - The Black Star, a New York African-American newspaper, got in on the act when Joshua Bell dropped by: “Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell paid a surprise visit to the 5th graders at Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary in East Harlem on Wednesday, December 20th. The students had written to Bell after learning about him while studying the violin through the Education Through Music program. They were delighted with Bell’s performance of Bach’s Chaconne, and even more thrilled by how much he enjoyed their own performance. Bell, whose current CD, Voice of the Violin, is at the top of the classical charts, is the first celebrity to visit Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary.”

Orchestra News

Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich has announced that David Zinman has renewed his contract as music director through the 2009-10 season.

12/21/06 - The Daily Telegraph (UK) profiled the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year: "The extraordinary story of the orchestra's birth centers around the vision and drive of a single Polish violinist. Bronislaw Huberman's concert tours to Palestine in the early 1930s led him to conceive a rescue plan for Jewish musicians in central Europe: a Palestine Orchestra would offer a haven for players who had been dismissed from their posts, and would also bolster 'the prestige of world Jewry and its cultural defense against the ignominious lies of Hitlerism’." The paper adds: "The orchestra's resilience is matched by that of its audience. When the Philharmonic performed in Jerusalem during the first Gulf War, the audience wore gas masks. And earlier this year, at the time of the conflict in Lebanon, the orchestra was in mid-performance in Haifa when the first missiles hit the city. Nobody left the hall ... Conductor Zubin Mehta, in particular, has gone beyond the call of professional duty. He flew to Israel to conduct during the Six-Day War of 1967 and again during the Scud missile attacks of the Gulf War."

12/21/06 – The Grand Rapids Press reported that members of the Grand Rapids Symphony surprised a loyal patron, known for lavishing flowers on orchestra members: "It takes something special to make Mary Simar cry. But members of the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra hit the right note Wednesday when a handful of them traveled to an Osceola County laundromat where Mary works and surprised her with a medley of holiday tunes on their French horns. It was the GRSO's way of saying thanks to Mary the 'flower lady,' who for years has not only driven from Reed City to attend performances in downtown Grand Rapids, but showers bouquets on members of the orchestra after their final bows. Stunned and delighted, Mary forgot for a moment about the $7.25-an-hour job she has held for 15 years, and faced the music instead of washing machines and industrial dryers ... French horn player Richard Britsch said,: ‘I've been dying to do this ever since she started bringing flowers to us’."

From Linda Lerskier
Posted on December 28, 2006 at 2:04 AM
Quite sweet of Eric Lewis! What a kind man!
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on December 28, 2006 at 8:59 AM
Isaac Stern went to Israel several times during Israeli-Arab wars and played his violin for audiences in concert halls and for wounded soldiers in hospitals. (See my blogs of June 16 and July 5, 2006.)

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